By Wayne Ruple
As home to the Confederacy, the state of Alabama has a rich Civil War history and now promotes a Civil War Trail containing some 50 historic sites. Among those sites are the Old Live Oak Cemetery, Pope’s Tavern Museum, Shorter Cemetery, Slavery & Civil War Museum and the Stevenson Railroad Depot Museum.
The on Highway 22 near Selma is the resting place of several war notables including Elodie Todd Dawson who was the sister-in-law of President Abraham Lincoln but who supported the Confederacy; Roger Jones who commanded the Merrimac and General Edmund Pettus whose name lives on today in the form of the Edmund Pettus Bridge – a rallying point for Civil Rights activists who marched over the structure 100 years following the war.
Also in Selma, visitors will find the Slavery & Civil War Museum at 1410 Water Avenue, which contains an extensive collection of historic artifacts and relics that portray the American experiences of slavery in addition to the war.
In north Alabama Pope’s Tavern Museum in Florence welcomes visitors to tour the facility which once served as a hospital for both Confederate and Union soldiers during the Civil War. The former stagecoach stop, tavern and inn now houses an upstairs museum with an extensive collection of artifacts.
On the eastern edge of the state on Riverside Drive in Eufaula can be found the Shorter Cemetery. It is here that Alabama Civil War Governor John Gill Shorter is buried.
During the Civil War the town of Stevenson was a vital rail link for Confederate trains throughout the Southeast. So it was here that in 1863 Union General Rosecrans ordered his men to build a pontoon bridge across the Tennessee River so that thousands of Union troops could advance to the battlefield at nearby Chickamauga.
Alabama is also home to seven historic battle sites and has around 20 re-enactment events throughout the year.
As the birthplace of the Confederacy the state had four flags – the Stars and Bars, the Battle Flag, the Stainless Banner and the Last National Flag.
In a vote in January 2861 Alabama lawmakers approved articles of secession during a Secession Convention held at the State Capitol. Following this meeting, delegates from other seceding states gathered in Montgomery on Feb. 4, 1861 and officially formed the Confederate States of America and Jefferson Davis from nearby Mississippi was chosen as the president.